Zappenin’s App Available for iOS

We’re excited to announce that our iOS mobile app for iPhones, iPads, etc. is now live on the App store.

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You can use it anytime to quickly find local businesses around you from the convenience of your mobile device.  It takes just a couple of taps to find the best restaurants, hotels, florists, hair salons, plumbers and more… both around you and in any city in the U.S.  As always, the ZapScore of each business is displayed to help you sort through the options.

A couple of comments:

  • We are releasing new features to the app, so be sure to update it regularly.
  • Don’t fret.  Zappenin’s app for Android is coming soon as well!

 

Facebook Removes Page Invite Option From Post Likes

Over the last few days, Facebook has removed the ability of Page admins to “invite” Facebook users to like their page, after those people first like a post from that Page.  Instead, admins now have the option to “Add Friend”.

If you are a Facebook advertiser, this is a pretty big deal.  Many Facebook Page admins and marketers write posts and then “boost’ them (pay money to Facebook to display the posts to targeted audiences beyond those who like their page).  When Facebook users like these posts, it doesn’t mean they necessarily like the corresponding Page… so a long term relationship with the user has not yet been struck.  The secondary benefit was that the Page admins could follow up with those users and send an invitation to like the Page.  This is how many marketers justified the cost of boosting a post– that they would also pick up these follow-up Page like as well.

At least for now, that is no longer the case.

In a peculiar move, Facebook has instead replaced the “Invite” option with “Add Friend”.  How many admins of a Page want to invite strangers who like a Page post into their network of friends?  Umm… none?  Exactly.  It is hard to understand what the thought process was in making the change.

There is always the chance that this was simply a bug Facebook accidentally introduced, and it will be fixed in short order.  Meanwhile, Facebook advertisers are forming Facebook groups and expressing their dismay on Twitter (#bringbackinvites) in hopes of reversing this policy.

UPDATE:  Facebook has mysteriously brought back the Invite option.  Crazy.

Facebook Launches New Feature to Connect Consumers with Service Providers

In mid-December, Facebook quietly launched a new feature that helps people find top-rated local service providers in a local search & directory format.  According to the site, it recommends those with “the best Facebook reviews and ratings.”  Clearly, this is a foray by Facebook into the space currently occupied by Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+ and other review-oriented consumer sites.

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This will be an interesting test for Facebook.  Facebook Pages are used extensively by businesses large & small to stay connected to existing customers, provide updates & announcements and, in general, keep their brand top-of-mind.  Active & popular businesses can collect thousands of followers (“Page likes”) as well as reviews & ratings.  Where Facebook Pages struggle is in helping businesses find new customers.  All of the Page activity typically does not help a business get in front of consumers who need their product or service, but do not actually know their business.

Facebook certainly has both the raw number of consumers (i.e., nearly everyone) on its platform and the participation of businesses through Facebook Pages to be a formidable player in this space.  The big question is whether they can bend consumer behavior to start at Facebook when looking for a service provider.  Consumers know Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. as places to go to find service providers and read reviews.  Facebook is not currently on that list.  It’s a monumental task to drive that kind of shift in behavior.  When a consumer needs an electrician or a plumber, will they turn to Facebook first instead of, say, searching on Google?

There are similarities to Google Plus, Google’s failed effort to compete with Facebook as a social network.  At the time of its inception, Google had more people regularly using its products & services (search, Gmail, etc.)  But getting those same people to adopt Google Plus as a social network proved to be a monumental challenge.

It’s also interesting which business categories Facebook chose to highlight… or better stated, the ones they omitted.  Restaurants, the bread-and-butter of Yelp, are noticeably absent (though you can search restaurants if you choose).  It seems likely that Facebook that rather than taking on Yelp in their wheelhouse… and possibly paling in comparison, they are nipping around the categoies at the edges while they refine & learn.

All this said, it will be interesting to see whether ratings & reviews are the main driver behind how Facebook surfaces its recommended businesses.  Consumer reviews are certainly one way of helping consumers find the best businesses.  Here at Zappenin, we believe it is the entire scope of businesses’ authentic social activity that when summarized, help consumers best select a business for their product or service need.  Facebook reviews are one important signal, but there are other social signals, and other social networks, to consider as well.

However it turns out for Facebook, it is validating to see that attempts are being made to tap into social activity to help consumers find businesses.  Businesses are being encouraged to leverage social media more & more.  This activity, when done well, should reward businesses with more new customers.  This is certainly our mission here at Zappenin.